The iPhone 15 might work as a wireless charger for your Apple Watch

Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max full back
An iPhone 14 Pro Max (Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

One feature that select Android phones have had for years yet iPhones still lack is reverse wireless charging. This lets you use your phone as a wireless charger for other devices, and it’s something that a future iPhone – perhaps even the iPhone 15 – might let you do.

That’s according to sources speaking to 9to5Mac, who claim that Apple is working on the feature. In fact, apparently it was planned for the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, but engineering delays meant it missed the deadline for inclusion.

The sources don’t specifically say that it’s coming to the iPhone 15 series, but if it was once intended for the iPhone 14 line then that certainly seems possible. Currently though, they’re just saying it’s now planned for a future iPhone.

Whenever it does land, it sounds like it might be exclusive to the iPhone 15 Pro – or perhaps the iPhone 15 Ultra if such a phone exists.

Aspects of the current development apparently include a special user interface with on-screen animations and sound effects, so you know when reverse wireless charging has kicked in. Apple is reportedly also working on new firmware, to manage the charging speeds, heat dissipation, and charging efficiency.

Concerns about the charging speeds and heat dissipation are apparently a big part of why this feature has been held up, and the sources note that while reverse wireless charging is still being worked on, there’s a chance it could be further delayed or even abandoned. So there’s no guarantee a future iPhone will be able to wirelessly charge your Apple Watch or AirPods.

Apple MagSafe Battery Pack

The MagSafe Battery Pack can be charged by an iPhone (Image credit: Apple)

Analysis: not the first signs of reverse wireless charging

This isn’t the first we’ve heard of an iPhone with reverse wireless charging. In fact, the company has filed a number of related patent applications, with one dating as far back as 2015.

There have also been a number of leaks around the feature, including a claim that it was set to debut back on the iPhone 11.

That, of course, didn’t happen but there are signs of progress. For one thing, the MagSafe Battery Pack can be wirelessly charged by an iPhone – though only when the iPhone itself is plugged in.

9to5Mac’s report also notes that FCC (Federal Communications Commission) filings from 2020 suggested that the iPhone 12 has some hardware necessary for wireless charging, though the feature was never activated.

It’s strange that Apple is struggling so much with a feature that many of the best Android phones have had for years, but hopefully the issues will be resolved soon.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.